Notes from the Raj
Hunting Jeeps and Trains out in India
Darjeeling is well known as the home of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) - in common with Blaenavon of all places, it's a world heritage site.
Less well known to transport buffs including me, it's one of the few places in the world where the Series 1 Landrover is still in daily use on a large scale. The landrovers were imported back in the 1950's and 1960's to work on the tea plantations and are still going strong today.
The end of the line at Darjeeling. The terminus of the Darjeeling Himalyan Railway is that vaguely pink building in the background that looks like the bottom tier of a wedding cake.
The railway track in the foreground is the only bit left of the spur that used to run right into the market at Darjeeling. The two girls, aioughh, on the right are about to catch the afternoon train home. There's a long wheelbase series one parked up in the sun and all is well with the world.
I'm just about to walk up the hill for a chota peg and a walk around the billiard table with the chaps at the planters club.
The Planters Club, Darjeeling.
If you find yourself at a loose end in the hills try a train ride, aioughh. The chaps here are filling the little engine with water - I never touch the stuff myself. It's also essential that you remember to get a tiffin box from your hotel - The New Elgin does an especially nice one. Then it's just a case of tightening your sudhar puttees, putting on your sola topi and heading off with your faithful bearer, bleioougghh. Oh and don't forget to put a few stiff pegs of Bombay Gin in your flask for the day.
Ahh here comes our locomotive. Brave little feller this one - built in Glasgow in 1894 and still going strong after 108 years of Indian maintenance. Makes you damn proud to be British, aaiouggh, bleioougghh. The roast beef of old England, the smack of willow on leather and cricket...
Aaaiouggh, we're off...in a cloud of leaking steam, mangled oaths in Hindi and a series of asthmatic gasps, the gallant little engine hauls itself out of the station and starts off up the hill to Ghum, the first stop on the way down. (Darjeeling, although it's the terminus of the railway is lower than Ghum which as well as having a railway museum and Buddhist monastery, is home to Dolores - a delightful cheechee girl who does a lovely tea and crumpet, bleioougghh!!)
This page (bottom half) dedicated to Major Dennis Bloodnok, Indian Army (retd) DFC (Coward and Bar).aaiouughh. Cashiered a world record 4 times. Nurse..the screens...